London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race

Hardcover | January 4, 2016

byKennetta Hammond Perry

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Black people in the British Empire have long challenged the notion that "there ain't no black in the Union Jack." For the post-World War II wave of Afro-Caribbean migrants, many of whom had long been subjects of the Empire, claims to a British identity and imperial citizenship were consideredto be theirs by birthright. However, while Britain was internationally touted as a paragon of fair play and equal justice, they arrived in a nation that was frequently hostile and unwilling to incorporate Black people into its concept of what it meant to be British. Black Britons thereforeconfronted the racial politics of British citizenship and became active political agents in challenging anti-Black racism. In a society with a highly racially circumscribed sense of identity - and the laws, customs, and institutions to back it up - Black Britons had to organize and fight to asserttheir right to belong. In London Is The Place for Me, Kennetta Hammond Perry explores how Afro-Caribbean migrants navigated the politics of race and citizenship in Britain and reconfigured the boundaries of what it meant to be both Black and British at a critical juncture in the history of Empire and twentieth centurytransnational race politics. She situates their experience within a broader context of Black imperial and diasporic political participation, and examines the pushback - both legal and physical - that the migrants' presence provoked. Bringing together a variety of sources including calypso music, photographs, migrant narratives, and records of grassroots Black political organizations, London Is the Place for Me positions Black Britons as part of wider public debates both at home and abroad about citizenship, the meaning ofBritishness and the politics of race in the second half of the twentieth century. The United Kingdom's postwar discriminatory curbs on immigration and explosion of racial violence forced White Britons as well as Black to question their perception of Britain as a racially progressive society and,therefore, to question the very foundation of their own identities. Perry's examination expands our understanding of race and the Black experience in Europe and uncovers the critical role that Black people played in the formation of contemporary British society.

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Black people in the British Empire have long challenged the notion that "there ain't no black in the Union Jack." For the post-World War II wave of Afro-Caribbean migrants, many of whom had long been subjects of the Empire, claims to a British identity and imperial citizenship were consideredto be theirs by birthright. However, while ...

Kennetta Hammond Perry is Assistant Professor of History at East Carolina University. Her research interests include transnational race politics, Black Europe and the connections between emancipation and citizenship. Her work on race politics in Britain has been published in the Journal of British Studies, History Compass and appears i...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.42 × 1.1 inPublished:January 4, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190240202

ISBN - 13:9780190240202

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Windrush Politics1. Race, Empire and the Formation of Black Britain2. Migration, Citizenship and the Boundaries of Belonging3. 'Race Riots' and the Mystique of British Anti-Racism4. Are We to Be Mauled Down Just Because We Are Black?5. Exposing the Racial Politics of Immigration Controls6. The Limits of Campaigning Against Racial DiscriminationEpilogue: Black Britain, the State and the Politics of Race

Editorial Reviews

"A genuinely post-Windrush history of Britain, driven by the experiences of Afro-Caribbean migrants, is long overdue. Perry offers us a glimpse into the vibrant everyday life of mid-20th century black Britons who had one eye on London and the other on global race politics. London Is the Placefor Me revises narratives of postwar British history to account not just for the presence of people of African descent but for the ways they shaped key debates and landmark moments at all scales of political practice as well." --Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois